NRC to discuss MOX plant evaluation at Thursday meeting

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a 7 p.m. public meeting in Aiken on Thursday to discuss the most recent annual performance review for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility under construction at Savannah River site.

The meeting will be held at Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry St., SW, in Aiken. NRC officials will be available to answer questions from the public after the business portion of the meeting.

The NRC review covered the period from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011, and found MOX facility construction activities acceptable and in compliance with all standards. The review also determined that the construction program was being sufficiently implemented. The NRC did not identify any areas needing improvement during the most recent assessment period.

The $4.8 billion facility, scheduled to open in 2016, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium by using small amounts to make fuel for commercial reactors.

Because the plant is involved in the manufacture of fuel to be used for civilian purposes, it falls under the NRC’s regulatory and licensing authority. The commission has a resident inspection team at the project that is supplemented many times a year with larger inspection teams.

The MOX program is administered through the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that manages nuclear weapons and related materials and programs.


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